The Benefits of Asking for Feedback at Work (Plus How-to)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published November 20, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
As your career progresses, you may reflect on your performance and determine whether you're managing your duties well and meeting your goals. To effectively assess your progress and performance, it may be helpful to ask for feedback from your managers, colleagues, or clients. Understanding the necessary steps to follow can help you get an honest and effective review of your performance and prepare for professional development. In this article, we discuss the benefits of asking for feedback in the workplace, outline how to ask for general feedback at work, and share tips to guide you.
Benefits of asking for feedback in the workplace
Here are some benefits of asking for feedback regularly:
Helps you improve your performance: Asking for regular feedback helps you assess your professional development and identify areas that require improvement. Those you ask are likely to provide honest advice and suggest the next steps to ensure you achieve your goals.
Develops open dialogue: Asking for regular feedback may create open communication channels with managers and your colleagues. These conversations can help you build professional relationships and allow you to focus on improving your skills and expertise.
Improves chances of promotion: Seeking regular feedback can help improve your chances of earning a promotion. Actively seeking ways to improve demonstrates your dedication and shows that you're ready to put work hard to advance and grow.
Provides an opportunity to learn from others: Your colleagues, particularly supervisors and managers, may possess skills and information to help you improve your competencies and processes. Seeking regular feedback creates a channel for you to benefit from their expertise and wisdom.
How to ask for feedback
Follow these steps when requesting feedback in the workplace:
1. Reflect on what you intend to gain
Before contacting your colleagues or managers, ensure you understand the primary objective of seeking feedback from them. For instance, your primary objective may be to get a holistic understanding of your performance, identify areas that require improvement, and determine how to improve them.
You may also want to learn about actionable steps you can take to achieve your goals or develop good professional habits. Receiving productive feedback in line with your objectives can help you grow in your role, maximize your strengths, and create easy-to-follow improvement plans.
2. Identify the best people to ask for feedback
It's essential to consider the source when looking for where to seek advice and feedback. Consider seeking feedback from people whose opinions you trust and who have a relevant perspective. You can also consider colleagues who know about your work and position or people you interact with most. Consulting various parties, such as team members, colleagues, managers, and clients, can help you gain an in-depth understanding of your skills and expertise.
Although clients and customers may not understand your processes like your colleagues or managers, it may be beneficial to consider their perception of you. Client feedback can help you understand how to attract potential customers and resolve customer concerns. When seeking feedback, ensure the person sharing their advice can address the areas you want. For example, although a hiring manager can give you feedback about your application and interview, they may not provide valuable insight into how to improve your customer service skills.
3. Prepare questions
It's necessary to ask thoughtful questions to ensure you receive valuable feedback and advice. Some types of questions you may ask include:
Open-ended questions require detailed answers and can help you gain additional information or have detailed conversations about a particular topic. These questions can help you better understand the impact of your behaviour and the context of their answer. You can consider asking open-ended questions when seeking coaching advice from supervisors in the organization you aspire to be like or from whom you intend to learn.
Polar or rating-based questions
Polar or rating-based questions help you get quick and straightforward answers. You can use these questions to validate a hunch or confirm an idea. You may also use them to evaluate options and ideas. When asking different people these polar questions, you can weigh and compare their answers. For instance, if seven out of ten people confirm an idea you have, you actively seek ways to pursue this idea. When comparing your answers, remember that close questions don't give you much room for interpretation and discussion. It may be best to use them only when seeking quick input.
Preparing follow-up questions in case you need more information may be beneficial. These questions help you focus on specific areas related to the task or situation. They also help you gain insight into areas or answers you don't understand. For example, you can ask for specific examples or say, Do you mind telling me more about that? This shows the person offering feedback that you value their opinion and want to understand more about their point of view.
4. Take notes
Ensure you come prepared to take notes during the conversation or meeting. Writing these points helps you remember them and shows the other party you value their opinion. These notes can serve as a guide to help you improve in the future. You can also use them as a reference point to assess how you progress as your career develops.
5. Reflect and review
Feedbacks are only beneficial when you apply them and use them to improve your performance. Consider taking time to reflect, review the meeting or conversation, and identify the essential aspects to apply to your professional life. You can also take some time to create a plan to implement these improvement guides. Create a list of goals inspired by the feedback meeting and ensure these goals are attainable with actionable steps.
Tips for receiving feedback
Here are some tips to consider when asking for feedback in your workplace:
Keep an open mind
Feedback opens you to somebody else's perception of your work and career. It's natural if your initial reaction is denial or defensiveness. But, it's necessary to understand the situation from the other person's perspective and remember that they have a positive intent. Understand that they want to help you improve and advance in your career. It's helpful to consciously remove pre-conceived notions or judgments of the person giving you feedback.
Attend a feedback meeting with the mindset that the other party is in a suitable position to offer insightful perspectives. Being non-judgemental helps create a positive and neutral environment for a productive and peaceful discussion. In addition, being defensive or denying their opinions may not be in your best interest and may make it difficult to get honest opinions in the future. Keep an open mind and aim to receive their feedback objectively.
Adopt a growth mindset
Feedback may be a positive asset to improving your performance and achieving your goals. Adopting a growth mindset helps you adopt the relevant parts of positive or negative advice and use it to ensure you keep growing as a professional. Constructive criticism of your performance is a part of the growth process. You can benefit from being grateful that it revealed potential hindrances that you can manage and improve to reach your potential.
Ensure you express your feelings as expressing yourself and asking for clarifications can help avoid misunderstandings. In addition, when expressing yourself, ensure they're appropriate and professional. This helps the other party take you seriously, allowing them to provide more honest reviews in the future.
Separate your performance from your identity
A colleague's, manager's, or client's feedback is about your performance and not personal. It's necessary to distinguish between both entities, as separating your performance from your identity ensures you can focus on the feedback and use it to improve.
During the conversation, you can benefit from controlling your emotions and directing the conversation to another topic if you feel the feedback isn't constructive. For example, you can say, I may need some time to process that, or, Can we move on for now? You may then follow up with another conversation or e-mail if you want them to elaborate on the comment.
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